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2.5 Globe Stars for Nookie's Commonwealth

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Photo: Commonwealth/Meg Jones Wall

In the Globe this week, Devra First gives Commonwealth two-and-a-half stars in an overwhelmingly positive review that reads a bit more like three stars. She praises the "clean, simple fare" which has "nothing to hide," much like Steve "Nookie" Postal in his extensive documentation of the process of opening the restaurant, published here on Eater. "The fourth wall is not just broken, it's gone, replaced by recycled wood pallets we saw being nailed into place weeks before opening," writes First, referring to Nookie's series. "This is the modern dining experience. It trades illusion for intimacy." It's that intimacy, that feeling of closeness with the people behind the project, that seems to please First the most. "The restaurant is well designed and well run. The food is well prepared. But it is Commonwealth's personality that will keep people coming back." [BG]

First also visits another Kendall Square newcomer this week, providing a quick overview of State Park, the new sibling to Hungry Mother. Things she sees: "Groups of tough chicks cluster at the bar, along with staffers from other restaurants and tattooed guys in T-shirts with band logos. People coming in from the cold bring the lingering smell of clove cigarettes. Behind a table of men with scarves and pierced lips, there is a diorama the owners made themselves." As for the food, it's "proud to be American, with a Tennessee drawl," and if you order anything "Nashville hot," you should "prepare to have your head blown off." [BG]

Ribelle has been getting plenty of excited chatter since opening nearly six months ago (including an ultra-rare four-star review from First), and Corby Kummer pays a few visits for his January review in Boston Magazine. A lot of things work very well, some things don't quite work but are still interesting, and a few things are "outright misfires," but the overall vibe is positive. "[Chef/owner Tim] Maslow seems never content with just one layer of flavor," writes Kummer. "Every bite has overtones, undertones, complements. He works crosswise, not stopping at—or bothering with—just balancing acid with sweet, say, or salt with sugar." [BM]

For his "Man Food" column in Boston Magazine, Richard Chudy tries the cauliflower po' boy at Root. He finds it to be "an eye-catching sandwich." While an unseasonal tomato "doesn't bring much to the table," it's the "creamy remoulade, used liberally" that "packs a mighty punch and makes this Po' boy a success." [BM]

Root

487 Cambridge Street, Allston, Ma 02134 617-208-6091 Visit Website

State Park

300 Lower Level, , MA 02139 (617) 848-4355 Visit Website

Commonwealth (Cambridge)

11 Broad Canal Way, Cambridge, MA 02142 (617) 945-7030 Visit Website

Ribelle

1665 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 617.232.2322 Visit Website

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